The grudge dates to 2011. That’s when Nimoy stopped speaking to Shatner. The bone of contention was a film called, “The Captains.” It was Shatner’s brainchild, but Nimoy flatly refused. Nevertheless, a cameraman hired for Shatner’s passion project recorded shots of Nimoy at a convention and the footage was included in the documentary.
Leonard ghosted Shatner. Shatner says he doesn’t know why Nimoy cut him off and that he’ll always wonder about it with regret. Shatner boldly went on to publish, “Leonard: The Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man” in 2016, a year after he did not attend Nimoy’s funeral.
Shatner vs. Nimoy
In a particularly petty incident, Shatner blocked a photographer, scheduled to do a profile shot of Leonard Nimoy, from entering the dressing room. Shatner had previously demonstrated Spock-envy. It’s worth noting, Shatner coopted lines meant for Spock because he wanted the Captain of the Enterprise to look smarter than everyone.
Obviously, Nimoy resented that. But, getting back to the dressing room tug-of-war, Nimoy boycotted going into makeup until Shatner let the dude in to do the shoot. Despite this, it was no secret that Shatner and Nimoy were really good friends, up until the latter's final years, when apparently, communication between them stopped.
The Shatner/Nimoy Rivalry
The top two stars at the helm of “Star Trek” experienced an intense rivalry while the show aired but grew to be best buddies, post-production. They happily made appearances as Mr. Spock and Captain James T. Kirk and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. During production, however, Shatner once went to Roddenberry deeply concerned that Spock’s popularity might overcome his rank as Captain Kirk.
Roddenberry advised him not to fear working with well-liked and talented people. The feud ended on a sour note. When Nimoy died, Shatner did not attend the funeral due to a charity event. This everlasting slight earned Shatner the nickname “Captain Jerk,” from the desk of CNN.
Disrespect the Captain
In his later years, Shatner fessed up. He admitted that his ego, specifically, his narcissistic personality, is the cause of many of his problems getting along with others. The cast, crew, and production could have told him that, and they did. Much of the cast grumbled about his behavior during tapings.
Nichelle Nichols nearly quit the show because of him. George Takei, of course, disliked Shatner deeply. James Doohan once said that he liked Captain Kirk but, “I sure don’t like Bill.” Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov) still complains about Shatner, decades later. But Shatner was the man then, and still is now.
What Did Shatner Call Director J.J. Abrams?
J.J. Abrams, at the helm of his 2013 Star Trek movie, offered William Shatner a cameo. Needless to say, Shatner’s ego was tweaked. Abrams explained that there is no way to bring back the captain because of the timeline; Kirk died in “Generations.” Shatner lashed out, as expected, to the point Abrams wondered publicly why the actor would communicate over social media.
Specifically, Shatner called Abrams a pig, a franchise pig, because the director signed to a Star Wars movie as well. And it's safe to say that Shatner had a point. After all, Abrams basically killed a whole generations childhood with his work on "The Rise of Skywalker." But we digress.